Making Spirits Bright at the YWCA Shelter

This time of year, you might hear on the radio that familiar refrain: There’s no place like home for the holidays. And for many, that’s true. For those who live with abuse, leaving home is what’s needed this holiday season. And because of a warm, welcoming cohort of YWCA friends, the YWCA-Wege Sojourner House is available to them.

The emergency shelter, or as we often fondly refer to it, “Sojo House,” is a place for women and their children when home is no longer safe. Throughout the year, we work to make it welcoming for them. But this time of year it’s particularly difficult to be away from home and loved ones. Recognizing this, we try to bring as much joy as possible to these families.

Volunteers are at the heart of this effort, and they transform the house with festive decorations. We’ve also had volunteers help brighten the holidays with donations of homemade cookies, holiday treats, personal care items and journals for the women, and adopting families to provide them with holiday gifts. One volunteer has made a now famous “party mix” snack for both residents and staff every year for over 20 years!

Volunteers and donors have also made it possible to host some special events for residents, including a Secret Santa Workshop, where the kids can pick out a present for their family members, a kids’ holiday scavenger hunt, and a night of spa-like pampering for the women. It’s hard to put into words how wonderful it is to see these families celebrate and partake in traditions together, even as they are rebuilding their lives. Thank you to all who make it possible.

Working alongside survivors of domestic abuse means sometimes seeing hard things – pain and trauma. But we also get to see moments of strength, empowerment, hope. And joy. So much joy.

Wishing you and yours a warm holiday season, no matter where you are celebrating this year.